The last week or so has been filled with the easiest of re-tweets: birthdays of long-dead, but very famous, artists and writers. The fun part about celebrating occasions like this is that it means that the internet floods with remembrances of their work--the usually combative 140-character streams of tweets fill with pictures of brightly-colored paintings and sculptures, extraordinarily poetic personal letters are excerpted, and personal biographies are revisited through compelling new frames of reference. Especially for Shakespeare, the selections below are just some of my favorites from the past few days.
April 20: Odilon Redon, French Symbolist painter - 175th birthday.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art shared Redon's ca. 1914 painting Pandora
- Originally published in 2012, from HuffPo Arts & Culture: "Happy Birthday, Odilon Redon!"
April 21: Charlotte Brontë, Romantic novelist - 199th birthday.
- From Maria Popova @brainpicker: "a magnificent graphic novel inspired by Jane Eyre"
- Also from Brain Pickings: Charlotte Brontë's "heartbreaking" love letters
- From The Paris Review: Brontë on men and marriage
April 23: J.M.W. Turner, British Romantic painter - 240th birthday.
- Google Art Project spotlights 200 works by Turner.
- The Getty's tumblr shared some lovely pastel studies.
April 23: William Shakespeare, Master of the Universe - 451st birthday.
- Upsetting news from USA Today: "less than 8% of top U.S. universities require English majors to take a class by the man often cited as the greatest English language writer of all time, William Shakespeare."
- On Business Insider: "13 Everyday Phrases that Actually Came From Shakespeare"
- From Flavorwire: "How Shakespeare’s Heroines Evolved From One-Dimensional to Feminist"
- And a personal favorite, which will probably give away the exact era of my teen years, from HuffPo Arts & Culture: "7 Teen Movies Based On Shakespeare That Would Make Him Roll Over In His Grave"